Alex Nelson saw his J. Taylor Finley Middle School boys’ soccer team improve by leaps and bounds over the course of the fall season, which encouraged the Falcons’ coach and raised hopes for future success on all levels of the program.
The season’s main goal was to get as many players involved as possible and sharpen their skills. Nelson taught players how to work together on the field and some of the strategies necessary to play winning soccer. Finley was competitive with every team on its schedule. The Falcons dropped three games by a single goal.
The 30-player roster included seventh graders Harris Alba, Jake Amend, Jordan Argueta-Guzman, Melvin Avelar-Romero, Josh Bhardwaj, Andrew Castillo, Cruz Flores-Andrade, Emerson Garay Araujo, Aidan Geller, Tyler Godin, Anthony Gomez, Luis Linares-Avelar, Edwin Marroquin Chavez, Edward Palma, Jorge Reyes, Jeffrey Rodriquez-Moreira, Dante Salgado, Christian Soriano-Leon, Eli Soric, Andrew Sullivan, Daniel VanArsdale, Keny Vilorio Garcia and eighth graders Max Gutierrez, Ian Husselbeck, Kieran Husselbeck, James McCormick, Justin Perez Castillo, Nikolai Seferian, Nicholas Totura and Jordan Waaland.
Twin brothers Ian and Kieran Husselbeck led Finley from their center midfield positions. “Ian is a calm, confident and intelligent center midfield,” Nelson said. “He was our primary source of distribution.”
Kieran Husselbeck also enjoyed a standout season. “Kieran is a tenacious, aggressive and confident player,” Nelson said. “He was the primary source of our attacking offense.”
Finley struggled at times to score goals, which resulted in the team getting shutout in four games. The Falcons enjoyed an offensive explosion against Northport-Gold, winning a high-scoring game, 4-3.
“The best team accomplishment was going head to head with Lindenhurst, which had the best record in our device,” Nelson. “We played an outstanding game against an extremely tough opponent. We ended up losing after giving up a goal with a few minutes left in the fifth period, but I was extremely proud of my team.”